Have you taken the Los Angeles Budget Challenge yet at LA.BudgetChallenge.org? So far, there have been 2,881 responses citywide. How is your Neighborhood Council and region doing? Take a look. Our goal is 10,000 responses by the deadline of March 4, 2013 (note that physical copies must be postmarked or delivered by February 27). There still is time!

The survey doesn’t take long to complete – five to ten minutes seems to be the average. Many people are finding it fun to take…yes, FUN. It’s interactive. You see the effect on the budget deficit that each of your responses has. Are you a budget hawk? Can you get that deficit down to zero, or even wind up with a surplus? What really are your spending priorities? You might be surprised with what you learn about yourself taking the survey – I know I have!

With the city of Los Angeles facing a budget deficit of $216 Million, now is a great time to express your opinions on how this gap should be filled. Should taxes be raised (such as the proposed ½ cent sales tax increase)? Should city employees be laid off, and if so, which ones? Should the whole structure and operating guidelines of the City be changed? These are all important questions for you to weigh in on.

Finally, when you take the survey, remember to select from the drop down menu the Neighborhood Council that represents you so that the City knows what priorities are of greatest importance to your community.

Lisa Samson, Budget Advocate for the South East Valley